What They Say:
It’s the same post-apocalyptic world and Chris, the mysterious bounty hunter better known as Iron Girl, is still the deadliest fighter on the planet. Unfortunately, she also still has no memory of who she is or where she came from, and in a land where knowledge is power, that means her days could be numbered. Everything may be about to change, however, if she can acquire a priceless memory-retrieving device called The Storage. But to get it, Iron Girl will have to save a colony and take on both an army of assassins and a renegade group of bandit militia called Sparti United.
It’s a sequel that’s far more than an equal, with more daring stunts, more explosions and more Iron Girl action than ever before as fist, feet, and other body parts go flying in IRON GIRL: ULTIMATE WEAPON!
While these kinds of releases tend to not have much in the way of extras, this one has a twenty-minute behind the scenes piece that lets the cast and staff talk about it. It’s interesting to see how the film came together and what the goal was while also getting to see the actors training, going through the action sequences, and showing how they handled some of the nudity. It’s far more than we usually get and it’s pretty fun overall to watch after the film is over.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A sequel to the 2012 Iron Girl film that Switchblade Pictures released back in 2015, Iron Girl: Ultimate Weapon arrives much quicker as it came out in January 2015, which makes for a great turnaround. I’m not a particularly huge fan of live-action Japanese cinema in general, as much as I have seen, but I have a particular affection for the low budget B-film kind of material that Switchblade brings out. Especially since it ends up classified as adult material even though it’s just a bit of topless nudity and some implied sex. With Iron Girl, it’s an easy grab to try and get a title like this on the shelves since it can be mistaken as an Iron Man knockoff (likely deliberately in Japan) and I’ve got no problem with that since you have to go into it with the right perspective.
The film keeps things in the near future after this part of the world has gone to hell as Japan has been isolated due to a low yield nuclear attack that has left everything in shambles. There’s a lot of destruction around and people are essentially reduced to scraping out a living in difficult conditions as there’s little food. THere are a few roaming bands of thugs out there as well as a larger group that has established control through fear and intimidation – as well as some well placed violence. The film revolves primarily around Chris Saotome, aka the Iron Girl from the first film, as she’s working to make money by going after various bounties so that she can earn enough to buy the device that will help her regain her memory.
Chris is in an interesting position because she was taken by the Fourth Diamond group at some point during their hold on power after the country went to hell and they modified her into this Iron Girl person. With a swipe of the barcode on her shoulder, she gains some advanced costuming and weaponry that lets her kick ass – something she can do without it as well as she’s a hardened warrior of the wasteland. We see her in the opening sequence dealing out some trouble to a group of low rent thugs that are abusing the women at the brothel in the area, though she naturally poses as one of the women that works there to get close, allowing for the nudity to be a part of things. There’s a familiar pattern to be sure with the film in how it uses nudity since it goes with the usual trope of “end of the world, women are only good for sex and being saved.” Chris, of course, provides the counterbalance to that by being kickass and we get a badass female villain as well with Asami and the hint of what Julia has in the final post-credits sequence.
What Iron Girl: Ultimate Weapon does is to essentially follow the action template that’s been around for a long time and really made concise and simplified in the 1980’s. It really feels like a low budget 80’s movie with about the same level of special effects. The path of the story isn’t unexpected, nor the way the various characters interact, but it just does everything with a weak approach. There’s obviously no real depth of character here, but they do try to give Chris a little more motivation by having her trying to get her memories back and having a “little sister” of sorts that she takes care of. There’s a guy that wants to help her out because he’s in love with her but can’t tell her because of secrets from before she lost her memory. There’s also the obligatory bug-eyed overacting male character that’s not quite a sidekick but just wants to have sex with Chris and will do whatever he can. There are some decent action sequences here and there, even filled with fanservice as you’d expect, but it’s the kind of movie where even at 84 minutes it feels like it runs too long.
While I didn’t get to see the first film for Iron Girl, I can pretty much figure out what it did easily enough going by this one. In fact, the first few minutes of this film tells you everything you need to know about it because you can see its path so clearly. There are fun moments to it and the actors are certainly having fun with it, but it is fairly standard b-film kind of material that Switchblade Pictures enjoys. That’s certainly not a bad thing and I definitely had fun with Ultimate Weapon overall because you can tell that they had a good time with it. But there’s just not a lot here that’s memorable or worth getting excited about. Switchblade does price their stuff well, however, so it’s a great add-on that I recommend folks check out because sometimes you do have to just sit back and enjoy something mindless and silly.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Making Of
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Switchblade Pictures
Release Date: December 1st, 2015
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.